What did Minnesota's Legislature do to address climate change? Not enough, activists say.

The Minnesota Legislature approved funding for two new transit lines, banned so-called “forever chemicals” in food packaging, and supported a green jobs training center in north Minneapolis as the 2021 session concluded with hurried overtime compromises. 

But major climate initiatives didn’t make the cut, such as a bill requiring 100 percent renewable energy by 2040 and new legislation to cut emissions in agriculture and transportation. Another thwarted bill would have ensured that frontline communities receive extra protections and a more robust review process for any project requiring an emissions permit, such as the expansion of a highway or industrial site. 

To climate activists and green energy supporters, the 2021 session produced familiar results: small victories and a sense the legislature missed the urgency to address climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas. 

“It just doesn’t go far enough and it continues to fund what always gets funded,” said Marco Hernández, public policy director of COPAL (Communities Organizing Latino Power and Action), a nonprofit group that advocates for immigrant rights and environmental justice. 

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